DearColleague.us

Letter

Bill Foster

From the office of:

Bill Foster

Sending Office: Honorable Bill Foster
Sent By:
Elise.Sugarman@mail.house.gov

Sign on to letter urging the CDC Director to Update Interim Workplace Safety Guidelines

Please use this
form
to sign on by COB TODAY (4/9)

Current Signers (32): Foster*, Castro, Lowenthal, Raskin, Malinowski, Hastings, Napolitano, Norton, Barragán, Lynch, Kilmer, Garcia (IL), Grijalva, Hayes, McGovern, Kildee, Casten, Dingell, Kirkpatrick, Tlaib, Rush,
Larson, Ryan, Roybal-Allard, Levin (MI), Pocan, Chu, Jayapal, DelBene, Sánchez, Soto

Dear Colleague,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the nation, workers in healthcare and other essential industries are continuing to go to work every day to provide essential services and goods for our communities. Unfortunately, both employers and employees
lack clear guidelines about what reasonable standards should be adopted to protect the safety of these front-line workers.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published regarding workplace safety conditions, this guidance has not ensured that essential workers at hospitals, grocery stores, factories, pharmacies, utilities, and other work sites are
protected from exposure to the Coronavirus.

Unfortunately, in these stressful times there has also been an uptick in
reports
of COVID-19 related worker mistreatment and possible wrongful termination. Clarity on this issue is especially important as Congress is expanding Unemployment Insurance (UI) as an important part of the pandemic response, and misunderstanding the
conditions of one’s termination can render an unemployed worker ineligible to receive UI benefits.

I urge you to join me in sending a letter to CDC Director Redfield to urge the CDC to update the

interim guidelines
for employers regarding workplace safety conditions during the pandemic. Providing suggestions on how to implement protective actions is essential to flatten the curve and protect the workers who do not have the option to work from home.

To sign onto this letter, please fill out this
form
by COB TODAY (4/9). If you have any questions, please contact Elise Sugarman (Elise.Sugarman@mail.house.gov). Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bill Foster

Member of Congress

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Letter Text

April XX, 2020

 

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road

Atlanta, GA 30333

 

Dear Dr. Redfield:

We have heard an increasing number of reports from our constituents across the nation of worker mistreatment and wrongful termination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we are writing to urge you to update the
interim guidelines for employers and employees regarding workplace safety conditions in essential industries during the pandemic.

Clarity on this issue is especially important as Congress is expanding Unemployment Insurance (UI) as an important part of the pandemic response, and misunderstanding the conditions of termination can render an unemployed worker ineligible to receive UI
benefits.

While we appreciate the interim guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published regarding workplace safety conditions, this guidance has not ensured that essential workers at hospitals, grocery stores, factories, pharmacies,
utilities, and other work sites are protected from exposure to the Coronavirus. Instead, there has been an increase in workplace mistreatment during the pandemic. For example, a nurse’s supervisor terminated her for wearing a mask in the hallway or common
areas because the employer claimed wearing the mask outside patients’ rooms would frighten other patients.[1]

Beyond health care, there has been a wide range of response to worker protection in customer-facing businesses. Employees at retail stores, such as Staples, have continued working during the pandemic, and their employers have not implemented safety procedures
to ensure they are protected. In response, Staples employees have signed a petition urging the company to close their stores to ensure their workers’ safety.[2]

As these reports of employee mistreatment and possible wrongful termination during the COVID-19 pandemic increase, we urge you to publish workplace safety conditions for employers to implement. Specifically, these guidelines should include information on
how to implement social distancing regulations in the workplace, deep cleaning requirements of equipment and supplies throughout the day, worker safety education and training, and other important information about protective actions employers can take.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns. We look forward to working with you to ensure employees can stay safe in the workplace.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bill Foster

Member of Congress

 

[1] Davenport, C.; Bhattarai, A.; and McGregor, J., “As coronavirus spreads, so do reports of companies mistreating workers,” Washington Post,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/31/worker-retaliation-mistreatment-coronavirus/

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: HealthCare, Labor

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